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17th-century Japanese dish falls to pieces at National Palace Museum’s Southern Branch

The dish will be repaired by an NPM team: Japan expert

17th-century Japanese dish falls to pieces at NPM Southern Branch.

17th-century Japanese dish falls to pieces at NPM Southern Branch. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – A blue-and-white Japanese dish made about 350 years ago fell into three pieces while on loan to the Southern Branch of the National Palace Museum (故宮博物院南部院區) in Chiayi County, reports said Wednesday.

The fact was uncovered at 8:20 a.m. Tuesday during a daily inspection round ahead of the official opening to visitors, and no foul play was suspected. The museum said the breaking of the dish was purely the result of the item’s old age.

The Museum of Oriental Ceramics in Osaka (大阪市立東洋陶瓷美術館) which had loaned out the collection, sent a curator, Hitoshi Kobayashi (小林仁), to Taiwan while asking the NPM not to touch or move any of the artifacts. Following his first inspection, the Japanese expert reportedly agreed that repair work on the dish should be done by the NPM Southern Branch team and it would continue to be exhibited there after completion of the work.

The repair should take two to three months, and the cost should be shouldered by the insurance company, the NPM said.

The dish was labeled as “blue-and-white with design of willow trees and birds” dating back to the Edo period in the 1660s and 1670s. None of the other 160 exhibits showed any problems, museum management said.